Samsung Slammed Over Ice Bucket Challenge for Phone

Samsung has attracted some criticism because one of its smartphones was roped into the ice bucket challenge that is sweeping the globe.

The U.K. subsidiary of the Korean electronics giant posted a 15-second commercial on YouTube showing the Galaxy S5 getting drenched in ice water.

But while the challenge is a global drive to raise money and awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig's Disease, the clip was clearly an advertisement for a mobile phone.

The viral campaign is based on the principle that anyone challenged by a friend or acquaintance who undergoes the brief ordeal has 24 hours to either donate US$100 to the cause or post a video showing themselves dumping a bucket of ice water over their head and challenge three others.

Samsung's U.K. subsidiary did post the URL of the British Motor Neurone Disease Association charity on the YouTube clip, and the charity thanked Samsung for the donation. The clip racked up more than 3 million views in just three days.

Samsung challenged other mobile phones -- Apple's iPhone 5S, HTC's One M8 and Nokia's Lumia 930. But unlike the Galaxy S5, the rival smartphones are not waterproof.

Supporters have hailed Samsung's marketing "genius" in harnessing the global phenomenon, but critics accuse the firm of exploiting a charitable cause for commercial gain.

Samsung claims its sole intention was to join the charity campaign and that it had permission from the association to post the video.

Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong and Hoteal Shilla president Lee Boo-jin, two of Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee's children, were challenged but did not respond within 24 hours.

A Samsung spokesman said the two are "looking into" how they should contribute and will reach a decision Tuesday.

englishnews@chosun.com / Aug. 26, 2014 10:26 KST